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Prosecutors rest case against O.J. , co-defendant

9/29/2008

LAS VEGAS -- The man who told a jury that O.J. Simpson asked
him to bring guns and "look menacing" during a hotel room
confrontation with two sports memorabilia dealers acknowledged
Monday he didn't tell police that last October.

"You have a whole conversation with police and you never say
'O.J. said to bring guns?'" Simpson defense lawyer Gabriel Grasso
asked the witness, Michael McClinton, during a lengthy
cross-examination.

"It may have slipped my mind," McClinton responded. "But Mr.
Simpson knew I had a gun. He read my concealed weapons permit."

McClinton, 50, a Las Vegas resident who worked as a security
guard, was the last of four former co-defendants to testify against
Simpson in the trial. After he finished two days of testimony,
prosecutors rested their case against the former football star and
co-defendant Clarence "C.J." Stewart.

Simpson and Stewart have pleaded not guilty to 12 criminal
charges, including armed robbery and kidnapping, and could face
five years to life in prison in the Sept. 13. 2007, confrontation
in a Las Vegas casino hotel room. Simpson has said he only wanted
to retrieve mementos of his storied career from the memorabilia
dealers.

As the defense started its case, Simpson's lawyers brought
Alfred Beardsley back to the witness stand, wearing blue jail
scrubs with his wrists shackled to a chain belt around his waist.

"I'd like to be better dressed," said Beardsley, one of the
two memorabilia dealers allegedly robbed at gunpoint. He is a
convicted felon being held on a California parole violation. He
wore a shirt, tie and jacket when he testified for the prosecution
last week.

Under questioning by Simpson lawyer Yale Galanter, Beardsley
repeated that he thought charges against Simpson should be dropped,
and that he and Simpson had been "set up" by Thomas Riccio, the
collectibles broker who arranged their casino hotel room meeting.

"Everything just smelled of a setup," Beardsley said.

"Did Mr. Simpson ever try to manipulate your testimony or tell
you how to testify in this trial?" Galanter asked.

"Absolutely not," Beardsley said.

Galanter also brought police Sgt. Rod Hunt back to the stand to
describe how Simpson offered his immediate cooperation to police,
including providing his personal cell phone number to a patrol
officer. Hunt supervised the robbery detectives who investigated
the case.

Earlier, McClinton told the jury he brought and displayed a
.45-caliber handgun during the six-minute confrontation with
memorabilia dealers Bruce Fromong and Alfred Beardsley and gave
another gun to his friend and former co-defendant, Walter
Alexander.

Simpson has claimed he saw no guns in the room. But McClinton
said he had his gun drawn when he entered the room and that Simpson
was close enough that their shoulders could have touched.

Grasso returned repeatedly to McClinton's failure to tell police
on Oct. 15, 2007, that Simpson told him to bring weapons.

"You must've forgotten, right?" Grasso asked.

"Sometimes that happens," McClinton said.

Grasso noted that McClinton pleaded guilty to robbery and
conspiracy to commit robbery in an agreement that called for him to
testify against Simpson. He could get probation or up to 11 years
in prison when he is sentenced after the trial. He also has
surrendered his concealed weapons permit.

McClinton spent the entire morning on the witness stand while
Grasso offered a defense transcript of an audio tape McClinton
secretly recorded at a restaurant where he went with Simpson and
others after the confrontation.

Grasso led McClinton, line-by-line, through a comparison of the
defense transcript of the recording with a prosecution transcript
used when McClinton was questioned by District Attorney David
Roger.

McClinton acknowledged differences in the two transcripts and at
one point said laughter that had been attributed to him was someone
else's.

"There are numerous deletions and additions that you agreed
that are not on the transcript," Grasso said after hours of
replaying audio clips.

"Yes," McClinton responded.

Prosecutors had used the tape to bolster McClinton's testimony.

"This ain't no major crime," Simpson is heard saying on the
tape.

The trial is scheduled for a day off Tuesday, and Simpson's
lawyers say a Simpson's friend scheduled to testify Wednesday could
be their last witness. Outside court, they said no decision had
been made whether Simpson would testify.

The judge indicated closing arguments could come Thursday, after
several witnesses for Stewart.